Session Descriptions

ESSYI is the only environmental studies summer program and course in the country that relies on over 16 faculty members from a wide variety of disciplines, departments, and programs. As a result, ESSYI embodies the nature and scope of environmental studies at HWS. We challenge students to consider environmental issues from multiple perspectives and engage in environmental problem-solving in ways that acknowledge the concerns and opportunities for everyone involved.

Below are brief descriptions of the academic sessions for ESSYI. The schedule changes a little each year, but this list, as a whole, captures the essence of the ESSYI experience.

Environmental Justice and Ethics
Scott Brophy, Professor of Philosophy
Steven Lee, Professor of Philosophy

Students explore the philosophical implications of their personal environmental worldview and how it influences their own desire to move towards environmentally sustainable solutions.

Environmental Economics
Tom Drennen, Professor of Economics
Students investigate and analyze a variety of considerations within environmental economics.

Environmental Change in the Indigenous World
K. Whitney Mauer, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies
Students explore environmental issues as they relate to indigenous populations in terms of history, culture, society, and the ability of indigenous cultures to respond to an often rapidly changing environment.

Forest and Soil Ecology
Susan Cushman, Instructor of Biology
Students conduct field research at Cayuga Nature Center collecting forest biodiversity data.

Representing Environmental Sustainability
Paul Kehle, Associate Professor of Education
Students consider the ways in which we can represent and analyze issues of environmental sustainability.

Aquatic Biology of Seneca Lake
Meghan Brown, Associate Professor of Biology
Tara Curtin, Associate Professor of Geoscience

Students spend the morning or afternoon out on Seneca Lake on the W.S. Scandling, a 65 ft research vessel, collecting and analyzing water quality and other ecological data.

Geography of Garbage
Darrin Magee, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies
Students travel to a local landfill and conduct classroom activities during which they examine environmental issues related to the creation and disposal of waste.

Food Systems and Community Service
Kristen Brubaker, Associate Professor of Environmental Science
Elizabeth Newell, Professor of Biology

Students spend time at the Fribolin Farm learning about community supported agriculture and performing service.

Landscape Architecture
Jeffrey Blankenship, Associate Professor of Art and Architecture
Students explore the practical and aesthetic aspects of landscape architecture and the relationships between topographic aspects of a location and the social context in which they are situated.

Protecting Natural Areas: Zurich Bog
Nan Arens, Associate Professor of Geoscience
Jim MaKinster, Professor of Education

Students spend time at Zurich Bog discussing and observing this natural ecosystem, with an emphasis on biodiversity and conservation.

Energy Policy and Sustainability
Tom Drennen, Professor of Economics
Students spend an afternoon examining alternative energies and energy policy.

Climate Change Law and Policy
Beth Kinne, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies
Students discuss environmental laws and policies related to climate change in both historical and contemporary contexts.

Science and Consequences of Climate Change
Nick Metz, Associate Professor of Geoscience
Students explore the latest science related to climate change and examine current and future meteorological consequences of this change.

Beyond ESSYI
ESSYI College Student Staff
The ESSYI College Student staff present their own academic experience and engage students in a panel discussion focused on the relevance of what they are learning and how it relates to college-level courses and experiences.

Biodiversity Analysis
Susan Cushman, Instructor of Biology
Students review field ecology techniques that are to be used during Adirondacks Project and then learn the calculations necessary for analysis.

Adirondack Natural History
Susan Cushman, Instructor of Biology
Students learn about Adirondack natural history through a combination of lecture and discussion.

Adirondacks Project
Susan Cushman, Instructor of Biology
Paul Kehle, Associate Professor of Education

Students are provided with the challenge of proposing an eco-lodge based on a series of opportunities, constraints, and the information they gather during a four day trip to the 8-million acre Adirondack State Park.

Panel Discussion: Development vs. Conservation
Adirondack Interpretive Center Staff
Students participate in a panel discussion involving local citizens and professionals focused on development issues in the Adirondacks.

Arts and the Environment
Heather May, Associate Professor of Theatre
Alaina Olivieri, Instructor of Dance
Nick Ruth, Professor of Art and Architectural Studies

Employing dance, drawing, or acting, students explore environmental themes and issues.

Prospects for the Future
Paul Kehle, Associate Professor of Education
Students engage in a final reflective discussion that synthesizes the past two weeks and helps students develop personal goals for the future.